On Sunday, the nation's capital was pummeled with up to 8 inches of snow, the first significant winter storm in Washington in more than three years.
Thirty-seven years earlier, on another frigid Jan. 13, a similar storm pounded the D.C. area and led to one of the most haunting tragedies in the city's history: the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 into the icy depths of the Potomac River.
It was a pre-digital, pre-cable universe on that bleak Wednesday afternoon in 1982. But a TV crew stuck in gridlocked traffic nearby captured the graphic footage after the Boeing 737 struck the 14th Street Bridge, just a few miles from the White House.
The images would become seared into the memories of Washingtonians through the years: the Potomac swallowing the plane except for a slice of its tail section; the dazed eyes of a passenger, her head barely above water as she gripped a safety ring during a rescue attempt; a truck hanging over the bridge after being struck by the jetliner; a survivor clinging to a rope line dangled from a U.S. Park Police helicopter.
Flight 90, operated by the now-defunct Air Florida, was headed to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a popular winter weather escape route. Moments after takeoff, the plane with 74 passengers and five crew members failed to maintain altitude and slammed into the bridge, striking seven occupied vehicles and plummeting into the Potomac.
Four passengers and one flight attendant were rescued; four motorists on the bridge were killed.
The day was also marked by stunning acts of heroism. Military personnel from the Pentagon raced to the scene to help in rescues. Others on the river's edge threw in makeshift lifelines, some fashioned out of belts or battery cables, to survivors thrashing about in the water.
Arland Williams was one of six aboard the aircraft who initially survived. But Williams would drown after dramatically passing the helicopter rescue rope to others. The 14th Street Bridge was renamed in his honor in 1985.
Roger Olian, a sheet metal worker ensnared in a nearby traffic jam, was believed to be the first person to jump into the water with a rope entwined around his waist, but he had to be reeled back in when he got stuck on ice.
Bystander Lenny Skutnik, a Congressional Budget Office assistant who tore off his coat and cowboy boots and plunged into the Potomac, was able to tow one passenger, Priscilla Tirado, to shore.
Don Usher and Gene Windsor, two Park Police helicopter pilots, managed to pull out four people.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined the cause of the crash was pilot error, including improper de-icing procedures.
The lessons from the Air Florida disaster would put a spotlight on everything from de-icing to issues with start-up air carriers for years to come.
Jan. 13, 1982, had a second reason to be a dark day in Washington, D.C., history: About 30 minutes after the Air Florida incident, a subway train derailment in the heart of downtown led to the deaths of three passengers, the first fatalities involving the city's Metro system.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 37 years ago: The horror and heroism of Air Florida Flight 90